Get Back on Track
Dr. Larry Kubiak
Get Back on Track
With the holidays behind us, I’m starting to think about what new year’s resolution I’ll make to get back on track in 2011. I usually jot down a couple of ideas and then think through the practicality of my goals. One year, I wanted to cut back on sodium because it’s been linked to high blood pressure. It seemed unrealistic for me to read the sodium content of every food in the fridge and freezer, but there was one thing I could do: Stop using the saltshaker. So, I set that as my goal. While I missed the extra salt the first couple of days, it didn’t take long to get used to its absence. A bad habit -- banished!
About half of Americans make new year’s resolutions, but research shows that 80 percent of those resolutions go down the drain by Valentine’s Day. Being a successful exception starts with how you word the resolution. Use these examples to get yours just right:
“I’m going to lose 25 pounds this year.”
“I’m going to lose a pound a week.”
People who set up their resolutions in small, measureable increments are more likely to succeed than those who make one grandiose goal. It helps keep you on track, and it seems less overwhelming. Build in rewards for yourself along the way. At the end of every successful month, treat yourself to a massage or tickets to a show or game.
“I’ll take better care of my teeth.”
“I’ll floss before bed.”
It’s easier to blow off vague resolutions. In this case, taking care of your teeth could mean so many different things. Zero-in on something specific, like flossing or cutting back on sugary drinks.
“I’m going to get off my lazy butt and walk three times a week.”
“I’m going to clear my busy schedule and walk three times a week.”
Negatively worded resolutions make you feel bad about yourself, and you become less motivated to make changes. Be positive -- or at least neutral.
“I’m going to cook dinner on weeknights and eat more whole-grains, veggies and lean protein.”
“I’m going to cook dinner on weeknights.”
It’s best not to tackle too many things at once. What’s more, your resolutions may conflict with one another. What if you were getting ready to make supper one night and realized you only had white -- not brown -- rice in the house? Would you feel that you failed? Keep your goal simple and focused, and you’ll still be going strong next December.
Dr. Larry Kubiak is a psychologist and director of psychological services at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital
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